Unforgettable Mystery: College student disappears - CBS46 News

Unforgettable Mystery: College student disappears from nightclub

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Erika Wilson remembered her son Justin Gaines as a "wonderful, all-American boy." 

The second-oldest of seven children, Gaines was a student at Gainesville State College when he vanished from a Gwinnett County nightclub on November 2, 2007. 

His mysterious disappearance led to massive searches, candlelight vigils and national news coverage. But after more than four years of investigating, Gwinnett County police said they are unable to explain what happened to Gaines.  

"The toughest part is probably not knowing. It keeps going on day after day. Is he alive? What happened?" asked Wilson.

Here is what police do know. Gaines got a ride to Wild Bill's Night Club in Duluth. A surveillance camera captured Gaines entering the club shortly after 11:30pm. Witnesses reported seeing Gaines drink alcohol.  He was seen by another camera leaving Wild Bill's at 1:30am. 

At 2 a.m., Gaines called a friend looking for a ride.  At 2:30 a.m., Gaines reportedly told a parking attendant he found a ride. 

Who was that ride? Did Gaines get into a car with someone he didn't know? 

Police said they've heard all sorts of rumors and haven't been able to determine if Gaines was killed, disappeared on his own, or fell victim to a terrible accident.

Corporal Edwin Ritter of the Gwinnett County Police said some people reported that Gaines would sometimes get drunk and pass out in dumpsters. 

"We don't know if he passed out in a dumpster and was taken away; or if he purposefully made it look like he left and didn't want to be heard from again; or if someone was out for revenge and killed him," said Ritter.

Wilson and Justin's stepfather Stephen said they believe Gaines was murdered.  The family's private investigator, Bob Poulnot, said he's still looking for answers.

"It would be important, of course, to find out who he was with when he left Wild Bill's, what car he got into, who he was with, where they went," said Poulnot.

The Wilsons said they pray that someone will reveal the location of Gaines' body so they can give him a proper burial. 

"This family needs closure. They have a son that's been missing for four years and they have no idea where he is," said Poulnot.

If you have information about Gaines' disappearance, contact the Gwinnett County Police at 770-513-5387 or Texas Equusearch anonymously at 1-877-270-9500. 

Gaines' parents have set up a website about his disappearance.

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